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Compostela (Tesseracts Twenty) Kindle Edition
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The TESSERACTS series is published by a Canadian publisher, EDGE Science Fiction and Fantasy, and focuses on speculative fiction.
TESSERACTS TWENTY is an anthology series of science fiction stories. Stories have a very futuristic view and reflect how people (humanity) are changed by an increasingly technical world.
My copy is an EBook edition; an ‘Advance Reading Copy’ for reviewers from Library Thing’s Early Review Program. I accepted this book in exchange for an honest, unbiased review.
Each story or poem includes details about the author and a link to their blog or website. I liked learning more about these very interesting, clever folks. ‘About the editors’ section was very interesting, also. The comments by the editors really established a sense of cohesion and understanding for this title.
I liked the comments on the title - COMPOSTELA - what the word referred to. This word/title is what drew me to the book as I am a former ‘peregrina’ or pilgrim on the Camino de Compostela. The Camino and the ultimate destination of Compostela, itself, is rife with spirituality, legend and myth. Every pilgrim has his/her own interpretation of and experiences with the ‘way’ and the ‘field of stars’.
I spent some time looking up and thinking about the terms ‘speculative fiction’ and ‘tesseract’. Very interesting. (I keep using the adjective interesting a lot, but all the stories, poems, terms, thoughts were just that - very interesting.)
The writing is very clever and imaginative, thoughtful and interesting, puzzling at times, very technically oriented, dry. I would like to call the writing, Science Fiction Noir, as it fits that area of fiction marked by cynicism, fatalism, bleakness and morally ambiguity.
I thought the first story, “The Tell” by Roxanne Gregory was very reminiscent of the film, Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome.
Many of the stories are quite chilling. I found “Ghost in the machine” especially so.
“Marvin” by Alan Bao is everything I distrust about automation and AI.
“No others like us” by Nancy SM Waldman was notable in that it was not as bleak as some of the others - an almost positive ending.
“In memory of” by Darryl Murphy was an emotional story for me and I felt I could relate to it a bit more.
I also liked the “Last Indie truck stop on Mars” by Linda De Meulemeester. A story set on Mars in the future but with familiar problems of the past.
I recommend this book if you like fast-paced, clever writing; a short story format; poetry; speculative fiction; well-plotted stories and well-developed characters; a lack of emotion or emotional upheaval.
I am interested in reading prior titles - each anthology title has a different objective or story ‘subject’.
As for the anthology itself, I am very glad I read it. A varied collection in both appeal and tone, but generally high quality, if not memorability. The poems, interspersed throughout the collection, were generally not memorable, though a couple were worth a re-read.
There is true SF, soft sf, romance, speculative fiction, aliens, social issues, apocalyptic aftermath, horror, tragedy and hope - sometimes all mixed up in a single story, but usually just one or two at a time. I found a couple personal triggers, but they were pressed so deftly that I was able to cope. That being said I confess the last story left me in tears, but not traumatically so.
There were a few stand-outs that were more memorable than most - Grounded by Miki Dare with it's alien yet not too alien world, No More At All by Lisa Ann McLean - how it ends perhaps, Buried, But Not Dead by Garnet Johnson-Koehn - another pre-apocalyptic-maybe.... ya gotta read it yourself. In Memory Of by Derryl Murphy was especially hard for me to get through for purely personal reasons, yet remains the clearest and most memorable (pun intended). There are others I liked very much but as in any varied anthology YMMV but I can definitely recommend this collection for fans of speculative fiction, and anyone interested in meeting new authors.
While this is a SF work, the selections did not seem to be from an unrealistic future. I could envision most of the scenarios happening in some distant, or not so distant, time period. The only real criticism I have is of the afterword. I think it contained too much of one of the editors personal feelings about politics and religion in his own and other countries. It was unnecessary to the book and ended the experience on a down note for me when I had greatly enjoyed reading everything else.
I received an advance copy of this title and have given my honest opinion of it.
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